___________________________________ STEVEN AFTERGOOD ) on behalf of the ) FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) Case No. 1:98CV02107(TFH) ) CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY ) Washington, DC 20505 ) Defendant. ) ___________________________________)
I, Steven Aftergood, hereby declare:
1. I am a senior research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), where I direct the FAS Project on Government Secrecy. The FAS is a policy research and advocacy organization founded by Manhattan Project scientists in 1945, and currently sponsored by some 60 American Nobel laureates in the sciences. The premise of the FAS Project on Government Secrecy is that U.S. government agencies sometimes withhold more information about national security policy from public disclosure than is justified by any threat to national security, to the detriment of citizen awareness and government accountability. I am the plaintiff in the present lawsuit.
3. In 1996 I requested disclosure of the total intelligence budget appropriation for FY 1997. The Central Intelligence Agency initially denied the request claiming that the information was exempt from disclosure under both section (b)(1) of the FOIA because it is properly classified and under section (b)(3) because it would tend to reveal intelligence sources and methods. But when I appealed this initial denial, CIA acknowledged that it had mistakenly asserted the (b)(3) sources and methods exemption and "apologized" for having erroneously done so. Thus, in a 17 January 1997 letter to me, CIA Information and Privacy Coordinator Lee S. Strickland wrote:
A copy of the letter is attached as Exhibit 10 to Plaintiff's Opposition Motion to Summary Judgment. The CIA continued to claim the (b)(1) exemption.
4. I subsequently filed suit under the FOIA for disclosure of the FY 1997 intelligence budget appropriation figure. On October 15, 1997, which was the day the CIA was due to file its Vaughn affidavit, the CIA disclosed the total appropriation for FY 1997.
5. In October 1997, I requested disclosure of the total intelligence budget appropriation for Fiscal Year 1998 under the Freedom of Information Act. In the absence of a timely response from the CIA, I appealed the request in December 1997. After the passage of several additional months, I communicated to the CIA my intention to file suit to win disclosure of the budget total. CIA subsequently disclosed the FY 1998 appropriation in March 1998.
6. In January 1998, I submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act for disclosure of the total intelligence budget request for FY 1999. I requested "expedited processing" of the request citing an urgent public need for the information, namely that it was required to enable public participation in the budget deliberation process. The request for expedited processing was granted by CIA.
7. In October 1998, I submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act for disclosure of the total intelligence budget appropriation for FY 1999. When no timely reply to these two requests was forthcoming, I filed appeals for their disclosure, which led in turn to the present litigation.
8. I have sought disclosure of the intelligence budget request and appropriation for two principal reasons: (a) the information itself is intrinsically valuable to the public, and (b) there is a broad consensus that it should be disclosed.
9. As long as the amounts of the intelligence budget request and budget appropriation remain classified, the American public will be unable to participate meaningfully in deliberations about intelligence spending. In the absence of a countervailing threat to national security that outweighs the public interest, I believe that classification of the total intelligence budget is repugnant to constitutional principles and to democratic practice.
10. Current CIA classification policy necessarily implies that the American public shall have no direct say in the allocation of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars. The people's elected representatives are prohibited from revealing to their constituents how much money is at stake, or exploring alternate uses of the funds under consideration. Conversely, timely disclosure of budget information would enable interested taxpayers to communicate to their representatives that such spending should be increased, diminished, or reallocated toward other national goals, and to hold their representatives accountable for the decisions that they make.
11. There is a broad consensus among national security experts and others that both the total intelligence budget request and the total appropriation should be disclosed each year. This consensus was notably articulated by the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community, a bipartisan commission created by statute (public law 103-359) and with membership appointed by the President and the Congressional leadership. The 1996 Commission unanimously recommended that both the total budget appropriation and the total amount being requested for the next fiscal year should be disclosed at the beginning of each budget cycle. Exhibit 3, at 142.
12. The Commission included the following national security experts:
Anthony S. Harrington, currently Vice Chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
Senator John Warner (R-VA), currently Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-FL), currently Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
General Lew Allen, Jr., USAF (Ret.), former Air Force Chief of Staff, former Director of the National Security Agency.
Ann Z. Caracristi, former Deputy Director, National Security Agency.
Robert J. Hermann, former Director, National Reconnaissance Office.
L. Britt Snider (staff director), currently Inspector General, Central Intelligence Agency.
14. Defendant CIA has generally argued against disclosure of the intelligence budget request and the total appropriation on grounds that such disclosure could directly or indirectly reveal sensitive information the disclosure of which could damage national security.
15. A real world example may illustrate just how little information about specific intelligence programs could be inferred from a single budget request or appropriation figure. If one compares the total budget appropriation for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) over the last twenty years with the history of NASA launch activity, as I have done, one finds no direct correlation between the two. So, for example, after the 1986 Challenger disaster, NASA's budget increased at the same time that its number of launches fell to zero. In the early 1990s, NASA's budget began falling at the same time that the number of launches began to rise.
16. Thus, one cannot reliably infer even the most significant and costly agency activities or the quality of agency performance from its overall budget levels. When several agency budgets are aggregated together, as in the case of the intelligence community, meaningful information about particular agency programs is obscured even further.
I hereby certify under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Executed this 14th day of May, 1999.